7 Largest Forests in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

7 Largest Forests in the World

Forests are the lungs of the planet. As trees “breath,” they take in carbon while emitting the oxygen for us animals to inhale. In total, forests cover approximately one-third of the planet. Individually, different types of forests create their own biological zones around the globe, with unique plants and animals found only within their confines. While misuse, deforestation and development have wreaked havoc on this essential earth element, there is still plenty we can do to help regreen the groves. Reforestation, conservation efforts and better land stewardship offer hope. The following list breaks down the largest remaining contiguous stands of trees.

Daintree Forest

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Daintree is the largest contiguous forest in Australia. At around 463 square miles, it blankets the northeast corner of the country and shades the coastline of the Daintree River. Some 90 percent of butterfly and bat species can be found here. For the bats, the forest’s more than 10,000 insect species mean plenty of snacks. The namesake of this wooded track is Richard Daintree, a famous Australian photographer and geologist. Within its borders can be found a large percentage of Australia’s unique indigenous reptiles and birds.

Xishuangbanna Tropical Rainforest

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Enveloping 927 square miles in China’s southern province of Yunnan, this high-altitude tropical rainforest is one of the world’s most pristine. Its vast expanse is so diverse that it is divided into many sub-forest types comprising eight distinct biological areas, each of which contains many extremely rare specimens found only here. Upwards of 3,500 types of flora have been scientifically documented. Xishuangbanna Tropical Rainforest’s sheer biodiversity and volume of rarities make it a field day for researchers.

Sundarbans

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Geographically split roughly 60/40 between Bangladesh and India is the 3,861 square-miles of the Sundarbans, the largest contiguous mangrove forest left on earth. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is specifically classified as a “halophytic” rainforest, meaning it is highly tolerant of excessive salt content and high water levels. Within its dense confines prowl endangered big cats. For example, in India parts of the Sunbardans are designated as National Park, Biosphere Reserve and Tiger Preserve. In neighboring Bangladesh, vast swaths of mangrove have Protected Forest status, also territory prime for protected felines.

Tongass National Forest

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Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is the largest in the United States, the world’s fourth biggest forest at 26,256 square miles in total area. Its dense stands of evergreens cover most of Southeast Alaska, including near landmarks such as the famous Inside Passage. The near pristine preserve proffers wildlife such as eagles, bears and rivers running with salmon. Park outfitters offer sled dog rides on glacier snow fields, while the more adventurous can seek out safe ursine encounters at Admiralty Island’s Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area. Area culture is on display at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, with easy visitor access just a short walk from the cruise ship docks in Ketchikan.

Valdivian Temperate Rainforest

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With an area of 95,800 square miles the Valdivian Temperate Rain Forest is the third largest forest in the world. (For comparison, California clocks in at 164,000 square miles in area.)  The Valdivian takes its name from the founder of the city of Valdivia, which is the capital today of both the Los Rios Region and Valdivia Province. The forest cloaks a vast area of South America, including parts in Chile and extending into Argentina. It features unbroken stands of conifers and deciduous trees with a dense understory of lush ferns and thickets of bamboo, all of which are much needed cover for a multitude of delicate animals and ecosystems.

Congo Basin Rainforest

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At a gigantic 781,249 square miles, the Congo Basin Rainforest is larger in area than the state of Alaska. This has much to do with the sheer size of the Congo River, one of the world’s largest, and the rich growth throughout its vast, fertile watershed. Ranging from subtropical to tropical, the moist broadleaf forests of the Congo taken together form a biome that continues from the Congo’s basin to those of its tributaries in Central Africa. Diversity in this colossal, connected collection of forests is highly abundant. For example, of more than 10,000 plant species found here, around 29 percent of them are indigenous, or unique, to the Congo.

Amazon Rainforest

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Touching at least parts of PeruBrazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Surinam, Guyana and Venezuela, just the Amazon’s list of country associations is impressive. So much so, it is also hard to imagine the sheer scope of this rainforest, which is an unfathomable 2.1 million square miles in overall width and breadth. Given that, it is still smaller than it used to be, suffering from ongoing mismanagement and degradation. What’s at stake are the Amazon’s biodiversity and its ability to scrub gigatons of carbon monoxide from our atmosphere. Due to its enormous size, the Amazon Basin’s wellbeing has vast implications for our climate in the near future, making it perhaps one of the most important environmental reclamation projects humankind could undertake.

Australia: 3 Best Ways to Explore the Outback

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Best Ways to Explore the Outback

The Outback is a remote stretch of land on Australia so vast that it covers 70 percent of the island continent, while holding only 3 percent of its population. It’s one of the world’s largest remaining intact areas home to not only deserts, but woodlands, mountains, and sub-tropical savanna as well. It’s a great place to really step into nature and discover some of the harshest, most beautiful environments in the world. Here are the three best ways to explore the Australian Outback.

In Search of Wildlife

In Search of Wildlife

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The Australian Outback is filled with animals you can only find there, and lots of wildlife in general. The most famous, of course, is the kangaroo, hopping all throughout the country (which, remember, is mostly Outback). Dingoes, friendly lizards like the Blue Tongue Lizard, wild camels, koala bears, wombats, platypuses, wallabies, toads, and just about anything you could think of dwell here, too. It’s also home to some dangerous creatures, such as crocodiles, spiders and, most famously, snakes. There are approximately 170 species of the reptile slithering throughout the country (many in the Outback), and about 100 of them are venomous. While Australia is home to the top three most venomous snakes in the world (Eastern brown snake, Western brown snake, Mainland tiger snake), there are very few fatalities annually. The country’s Outback is also great for bird watching, as parrots, emus, and thousands of other birds can be found all throughout the country.

Leaving the Pavement

Leaving the Pavement

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Going off-road in the Outback is essential to the experience. Yes, it’s already “off-the-beaten-path” no matter which highway you take through it, but getting onto dirt roads and then hiking into areas even further off the beaten track is so rewarding. A few places to start: the Old Telegraph Track, which was once the northern region’s only line of communication and home to many waterfalls and swimming holes; the Simpson Desert French Line, with its frequent dune crossings; and Gibb River Road, which follows a river that offers fresh water gorges, secluded swimming holes and unrivaled Outback landscapes.

Visiting National Parklands

Visiting National Parklands

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Going to national parks in the Outback is the best way to explore it. Doing it overland would be something special, too, because you get to see the thousands of miles in between some of them. But the national parks themselves show that the Outback isn’t all barren deserts. Places like Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory have wetlands and ancient rock art. Kings Canyon, located within Watarrka National Park in central Australia, can be enjoyed from the rim or gorge, deep within the sandstone formation. Mutawintji National Park offers a more “classic outback landscape,” its website says, with dirt roads and rugged gorges and desert stretching to the horizon. Or there’s the wildly remote Culgoa National Park, which has free camping, the largest continuous tract of coolabah trees and a rich cultural history.

Landscapes Around the World You Won’t Believe Exist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Landscapes Around the World You Won’t Believe Exist

Earth is home to some spectacular natural vistas – dense forest, raging rivers and rugged mountains are sights we are all familiar with. But there are a few places that you may be surprised that you can even visit on this planet. Here are some landscapes from around the world that you won’t believe exist.

DAILY QUESTION

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

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This expansive salt flat covers over 4,000 square miles high in the Bolivian Andes. Formed by the slow growth, reduction, and disappearance of many different lakes over the last 50,000 years, Salar de Uyuni is like no place on Earth. While the unending plain of snow-white salt is something to see on its own, the real show begins after a rain has passed over and transforms Salar de Uyuni into the world’s largest mirror.

Lake Baikal, Russia

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The largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal holds more water than all the Great Lakes combined. But it becomes much more than just a massive lake during the winter, when the lake freezes over for five months. The frozen water is so clear that you can see almost 150 feet below the surface. In March, as temperatures begin to rise, the icy crust begins to crack, and ice shards are pushed above the surface. Sunlight streams though the blocks of ice and shines in an unearthly shade of turquoise.

Waitamo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

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There are over 300 limestone caves in the Waitamo region of New Zealand. One has been capturing the imagination of visitors for generations – the Waitamo Glowworm caves. The roof of this cave is home to a massive population of Arancamoa Luminosa, glow worms that bathe the cave in pale greenish blue light as visitors glide across the shallow waters of the cave.

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

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This flat-top mountain sits at the intersection of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. It has inspired both the native South Americans and visitors to the region for centuries. Somewhat more recently, the unique landscape served as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s inspiration for his novel, The Lost World.

In the novel, Sir Doyle imagines a world apart from the rest of the planet, cut off and inaccessible, still inhabited by dinosaurs and other creatures from bygone eras. If you have a chance to see Mount Roraima’s flat, 12-square mile summit towering above the clouds, surrounded by cliffs over 1,000 feet high, you’ll understand how Sir Doyle envisioned a world where life could continue undisturbed.

Zhangjiajie, China

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Deep within the Wulingyuan scenic area of China’s Hunan province lies the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Abundant greenery hides the true star of the park – freestanding pillar formations that were carved out over centuries of physical erosion. These pillars also served as the inspiration for a famous science-fiction setting: the alien jungle of James Cameron’s film Avatar. It was modeled after the Zhangjiajie forest.

Zhangye Danxia, China

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The Zhangye National Geopark consists of natural rock formations with fabulous bands of color streaked through them. The formations are the result of more than 20 million years of sandstone and other minerals depositing in the area. The deposits were then twisted to their current angle by steady tectonic movements, which give them the striking appearance they have today.

Valley of the Ten Peaks, Canada

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High in Canada’s Banff National Park lies Moraine Lake, an Alpine destination where crystal-clear waters are bordered by a tall evergreen forest, which is in turn dwarfed by ten imposing peaks, all of which are over 10,000 feet. The lake can be easily reached by road, which means you can visit one of the most awe-inspiring destinations in North American with little more than a long drive.

MXCHELLEEX by Michelle Sanders

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